Read like a Superforecaster®

We surveyed Good Judgment’s professional Superforecasters during the height of the COVID lockdowns to get their reading recommendations. They offered both pandemic-related suggestions and a list of all-time-favorite reads.

We then shared the entire list of recommendations with the group and asked them to upvote their favorites. Below, we share the results, ranked in order of the number of votes received.


Superforecaster Reading Recommendations

Summer 2020


Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Daniel Defoe, A Journal of the Plague Year

Michael Lewis, The Fifth Risk and The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds

David Quammen, Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic

Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind

Steven Johnson, Ghost Map

Jordan Ellenberg, How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking

Scott Page, The Model Thinker

Kurt Vonnegut, Galapagos and Cat’s Cradle

Ezra Klein, Why We Are Polarized

Paul Ewald, Plague Time: How Stealth Infections Cause Cancer, Heart Disease, and Other Deadly Ailments and Evolution of Infection Disease

Michael Crichton, The Andromeda Strain

Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow

Max Brooks, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

Cixin Liu, The Three-Body Problem (trilogy)

Hilary Mantel, The Mirror and the Light

Ron Chernow, Grant

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

Douglas Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, and Bach

Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Dan Mayland, The Colonel’s Mistake

Toby Ord, The Precipice

Charles E. Rosenberg, The Cholera Years: The United States in 1832, 1849, and 1866

Peter Turchin, War and Peace and War

Laurie Garrett, The Coming Plague

Tom Wright, Billion Dollar Whale

Dave Levitan, Not a Scientist: How Politicians Mistake, Misrepresent, and Utterly Mangle Science

Thomas H. Corman, Charles E. Leiserson, Ronald L. Rivest, & Clifford Stein, Introduction to Algorithms (3rd ed.)

Matt Leacock, Pandemic (not a book, but a cooperative board game)

Agustin Rayo, On the Brink of Paradox

James Gleick, Chaos: Making a New Science

Damir Huromovic (ed.), Psychiatry of Pandemics: A Mental Health Response to Infection Outbreak

Dani Rodrik, Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science

James Ellroy, This Storm

Martin Gurri, The Revolt of the Public

Robert Sapolsky, Behave

Hari Hunzru, Transmission

Adam Kucharski, Rules of Contagion: Why Things Spread

Albert Camus, The Plague

Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom

Robert O. Paxton, The Anatomy of Fascism

David Mitchell, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet: A Novel

Patrick R. Murray, Ken S. Rosenthal, & Michael A. Pfaller, Medical Microbiology (9th ed.)

Bruno Maçães, Belt and Road: A Chinese World Order and The Dawn of Eurasia: On the Trail of a New World Order

Jose Saramago, Blindness

Greg Egan, Permutation City

John Wyndham, The Day of the Triffids

Laura Spinney, Pale Rider

V.S. Naipaul, A House for Mr. Biswas

Norman Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Alicia Keys, More Myself: A Journey

Robert Shiller, Narrative Economics

Daniel Immerwahr, How to Hide an Empire

Tom Nichols, The Death of Expertise

Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

James Joyce, Ulysses

Alan Moore & David Lloyd, V for Vendetta

Czeslaw Milosz, The Captive Mind

Superforecasting the Fed

[This post is from our 2019 archives.]

You know you’re onto something when the world’s central banks start paying attention.

As reported by Bloomberg, researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York are pioneering ways to apply Superforecasting® techniques in their work. It’s also a topic of discussion elsewhere in the Federal Reserve system.

Meanwhile, staffers at the Bank of England provided a tentative yes to the question posed in their blog post, “Can central bankers become Superforecasters?” Their chief economist recommends that central banks engage directly with the public via an online forecasting platform, which would “open central banks’ ears (and eyebrows) to a wider range of societal stakeholders when setting policy.”

As it happens, central bankers can already do so on Good Judgment Open in the “Finance Forecasting Challenge,” sponsored by CFA Societies in the U.S. and Canada. It’s open to all, including questions on Fed policy decisions, economic data, and asset class returns.

And there are the Superforecasters themselves, who shadow-forecast the Fed’s own predictions for key macroeconomic variables, including growth, inflation, and unemployment, as well as the federal funds rate itself. Earlier this year, the Superforecasters began to show a risk that inflation in 2019 would fall below the Fed’s expected inflation rate of 1.9% for the year, which would help set the stage for a shift by the Fed to start cutting interest rates again. Since then, the annual inflation rate has been averaging 1.4%.

On the eve of the Fed’s July meeting, the Superforecasters had a 98% probability of a rate cut, in line with most market observers at this point. Looking ahead, the Superforecasters also project at least a 20% probability of additional cuts at each of the next two meetings. Subscribers to Superforecaster® Analytics can monitor updates to these forecasts on a dedicated dashboard.

If you would like to see what the Superforecasters are saying about the rest of 2019 and 2020, please drop us a line and we’ll be happy to send the latest report.


Superforecaster Perspectives on a “No-Deal” Brexit

Move over, NCAA. There’s a new March madness looming—the prospect that the UK will exit the European Union on 29 March without an agreement on the future UK-EU trading relationship.

A Wall Street Journal review of potential no-deal Brexit costs notes several eye-popping estimates, including:

  • A £13 billion ($17 billion) annual increase in costs for UK firms to fulfill customs declarations duties when exporting to the EU (HM Revenue & Customs);
  • A 5-8% long-term decrease in Britain’s GDP, coupled with a 1.5% decrease for EU member states (IMF); and
  • Tens of millions of pounds in additional tariffs for individual companies such as Burberry Group PLC, the British luxury fashion maker.

High uncertainty about the no-deal Brexit scenario drives massive planning expenses for contingencies that may never arise. Even small reductions in uncertainty could yield large payoffs.

Enter the Superforecasters—the “forecasting foxes” (hat-tip to David Brooks) who have an enviable track record of early foresight. Superforecasters typically start with a base rate that reflects the frequency with which comparable events have occurred. The question naturally arises: What is a “comparable” event to a no-deal Brexit?

One Superforecaster tackled this tough question by generating an intriguing array of possibilities limited to “Europe, broadly defined, in the last 30 years”:

  • “No exit”: separatist efforts in Catalonia’s recent attempt to leave Spain clearly failed, as did the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.
  • From former Yugoslavia:
    • Three “no-deal” departures (Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo);
    • Three “arranged” departures (Slovenia, Macedonia, and Montenegro); and
    • Two “remains” (Serbia and Vojvodina).
  • From the former Soviet Union:
    • Nine effectively “no-deal” departures that were messy, chaotic, and—to varying degrees—violent (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, and Ukraine);
    • Five “arranged” departures (Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan); and
    • One “remain” (Russia).

Good Judgment’s professional Superforecasters routinely challenge one another to take an outside-view perspective on difficult-to-quantify uncertainties such as the prospect of a no-deal Brexit. Good Judgment’s new Future of Brexit package, about to be released, provides their latest probability forecasts on key questions such as “Before 1 January 2020, will the UK and the EU adopt an agreement on which customs territory Northern Ireland will be located in after the end of any Brexit transition period?” and includes highlights of Superforecaster commentary.

Contact us to learn more about the Future of Brexit package and other Superforecasts available by subscription or as custom forecasts on the questions that are most important to you.